Wednesday, May 03, 2006

running on empty

looks like the party of stunts photo ops staged events cheap political manuevers ideas has just run out of them:

washington post: the response so far has been profiles in panic. some conservatives dropped their philosophical opposition to tax hikes and business regulations and began complaining loudly about oil companies and the auto industry.

president bush last week announced that he wanted the authority to raise fuel economy standards on automobiles. one aide acknowledged the idea was devised on the fly, with almost no planning or discussion among relevant agencies. this became obvious within hours when white house officials cautioned that bush had no immediate plan to use the authority even if he had it.

a few days earlier, bush backed diverting crude oil from the strategic petroleum reserve, an idea he dismissed less than two years earlier as a political stunt.

republican lawmakers likewise have responded with a mishmash of solutionssome barely vetted, others with little chance of becoming law.

the problem? it seems that the citizens of emerald city, even the once-fawning dittoheads, are now paying very close attention to the man behind the curtain ...

new york times: the senate republican plan to mail $100 checks to voters to ease the burden of high gasoline prices is eliciting more scorn than gratitude from the very people it was intended to help.

aides for several republican senators reported a surge of calls and e-mail messages from constituents ridiculing the rebate as a paltry and transparent effort to pander to voters before the midterm elections in november.

"the conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery," said don stewart, a spokesman for senator john cornyn, republican of texas, pointing out that the criticism was coming from across the ideological spectrum.

angry constituents have asked, "do you think we are prostitutes? do you think you can buy us?" said another republican senator's aide, who was granted anonymity to openly discuss the feedback because the senator had supported the plan.

conservative talk radio hosts have been particularly vocal. "what kind of insult is this?" rush limbaugh asked on his radio program on friday. "instead of buying us off and treating us like we're a bunch of whores, just solve the problem." in commentary on fox news sunday, brit hume called the idea "silly."

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